Softball drops conference opener to No. 3 Oklahoma, 7-0
AUSTIN, Texas -- The third-ranked Oklahoma Sooners proved to be too much for No. 10 Texas, downing the Longhorns, 7-0 in UT's Big 12 Conference opener at McCombs Field. The Sooners' starter Lauren Eckerman held UT scoreless in her complete game shutout, improving OU to 36-2 and 3-0 Big 12 on the season, while the Longhorns fell to 24-7 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 play.
After a four-inning pitchers duel between Eckerman and Texas' junior righthander Meagan Denny, the Sooners blew the game open in the fifth inning, using a leadoff walk by Jamie Fox and a two-run home run by second baseman Traci Dickenson to give OU a 2-0 edge.
Oklahoma senior third baseman Norelle Dickson followed with a walk and advanced to second on Mariee Mena's single down the leftfield line. Denny (15-6) was lifted in favor of freshman hurler Erin Tresselt after surrendering Mena's single. The next batter, Amber Flores, was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Dickson came home on Samantha Ricketts' bases-loaded RBI single, and Mena scored on Susan Ogden's run-scoring single to left field, pushing the Sooners advantage to 4-0.
"Oklahoma is a great hitting team and you have to come out and pitch your best game against a team like that," noted Denny.
The Sooners tacked on another tally in the fifth inning, when Dickson reached on a single and came all the way around on two UT throwing errors, scoring on the play. Ogden added two more runs in the OU seventh inning when she blasted a two-run home run down the leftfield to widen the margin to 7-0.
"We knew that Oklahoma was one of the hottest teams in the country coming into today's game," stated head coach Connie Clark. "Eckerman is one of the best pitchers that we have faced this season, and offensively they are a great hitting ball club."
Denny (15-6) suffered the loss for the Longhorns, allowing four runs on four hits in 4.1 innings of work, while striking out seven Sooners. Eckerman moved to 21-0 on the year after tossing a complete game shutout, scattering four hits and striking out five.
Longhorns' freshman shortstop Loryn Johnson headlined the UT offense on the day, going 2-for-3, while sophomore rightfielder Kacie Gaskin and junior leftfielder MicKayla Padilla added Texas' other two hits.
Texas returns to action Sunday, March 25 when it takes on Oklahoma in game two of the series at McCombs Field. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. and live stats, Internet audio and video of the game will be available through TexasSports.com.